AUGUSTA, Maine — The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is different than any other department of the state of Maine. It operates off dedicated revenue, mostly from the sales of hunting, fishing and trapping licenses. It also receives money from taxes on ammo and equipment, as well as from other sources.
Perhaps because of this, "The Department" is focused on its budget and where money comes from. Down through the years, a number of non-hunters and non-fishers have expressed frustration that their voices were not being heard when it comes to managing Maine's wildlife species.
The so-called "non-consumptive" users are excited about the appointment of Judy Camuso as Commissioner.
The 11-year veteran of the department's Wildlife Division is an ardent birder, as well as a skilled administrator who headed such projects as the Maine Bear Referendum in 2014.
That referendum was controversial, as a government department took an active stand in a political campaign. The referendum to eliminate almost all of bear hunting was defeated, 53 to 47 percent.
Camuso says she has "about thirteen" goals for the department. A big one is to communicate to the public about what the department does. She would also like to recruit more hunters and involve the public more as citizen scientists.